Peripatetic Knowledge in Plutarch's <i>Table Talk</i>

Katerina Oikonomopoulou

in The Philosopher's Banquet

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588954
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728907 | DOI:
Peripatetic Knowledge in Plutarch's Table Talk

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This chapter investigates the various modes of engagement with Peripatetic knowledge (particularly Peripatetic science) within Plutarch's Table Talk. More specifically, it discussed the narratives within the Table Talk which focus on the recollection of Peripatetic knowledge under conditions of oral communication. The purpose is dual: to assess the role Peripateticism plays as intellectual capital within the work; and to explore the self-reflexive connotations of these scenes for the Table Talk itself, as a text that is cast in the mould of Peripatetic problem-collections. The first part examines the importance of Peripatetic legacy within the Table Talk (and the imperial tradition of miscellanistic writing more generally), particularly its significance as an exponent of an ideal of polymathy. The main part discusses memory and recollection as key factors that determine how Peripatetic knowledge is shared and transmitted within the work. The final part discusses the extent to which the Table Talk might anticipate similar scenarios of transmission for its own contents, by looking closely at aspects of its structure and themes.

Keywords: Peripatetic science; Peripatetic problem-collections; polymathy; oral communication; memory; self-reflexive; transmission

Chapter.  10439 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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